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News | December 21, 2023
2 minute read

Estate Planning and the Holidays Really Do Mix: Warner Partner Beth O’Laughlin Talks with West Michigan Media

As families gather for the holidays, estate planning likely isn’t top of mind, but it’s something that does deserve a spot at the table – at least for a short time.

“While it’s not the most fun conversation to have during the holidays, everyone being home offers a good opportunity to sit down together and discuss what estate planning is in place and where critical documents information can be found,” Warner partner Beth O’Laughlin recently told West Michigan media. “A 30-minute conversation with everyone in the same room can save family members from heartache and stress later on.

“For example, if grandma is finding it harder to manage her own affairs or if it may be her last Christmas, it’s important to ensure appropriate powers of attorney are in place, confirm she has executed a will and trust and have a general understanding of what assets she owns and how they can be accessed. These conversations can be difficult to broach, but they are necessary.”

O’Laughlin offers a few more estate planning tips:

  • With children home from college, it’s a good time for them to set up both a health care and financial power of attorney – it’s never too early to get your estate ducks in a row.
  • Formalize who’s getting what material possessions. “Simply having family members write their names on sticky notes and putting them on the items they want can cause a lot of conflict – no one needs to fight over grandpa’s war medals,” O’Laughlin says. “Adding a document to your estate plan that spells out who gets what is the best way to minimize family drama and make the proposed gifts legally binding.”
  • If you’re able, utilize your annual exclusion with gifting – in 2023, the IRS allows individuals to give away up to $17,000 to an unlimited number of individuals without tax implications.

Watch O’Laughlin’s WOOD TV interview here and listen to her WGVU interview here.

About Warner

By providing discerning and proactive legal advice, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP builds a better partnership with our clients. One of Michigan’s largest law firms, we’re focused on providing the best legal solutions and exceptional client service to organizations throughout the world. Connect with us on, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

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